Jim Schmidt, founder. Photo by Christine Carignan.
Three-Year Average Annual Growth: 47%
Rank on Private 100 (2019): 72
Jim Schmidt spent his career in executive positions at energy product companies, including General Electric and Phillips Electronics, when he decided it was time to walk away and start his own business.
Schmidt says he saw most companies either distributing lighting systems, manufacturing them or servicing them and wanted to launch a company that did all three. He pulled from his savings and launched National Energy & Light in 2013.
“My family thought I was nuts,” he says. “I didn’t want to look back in 20 years and regret that I didn’t do it.”
National Energy & Light, located in Nashua, provides energy, electrical, and lighting products and systems for commercial enterprises like fitness centers, restaurants, stores, hotels and auto dealers.
Schmidt says clients from his previous jobs followed him to his new venture and continue to come on board. The company’s workforce now numbers 40, and Schmidt is looking for a new facility as they’ve outgrown their current space.
Between 2016 and 2018, sales for National Energy & Light grew by 47% annually, making it the fifth fastest growing firm on Business NH Magazine’s list of the Top 100 Private Companies in NH in 2019. Sales in 2019 grew by another 20%, Schmidt says.
While servicing new construction has been a source of steady growth, upgrading existing commercial facilities is the major driver of sales, Schmidt says. He adds a diverse customer base has been another key to success. “We’re making an effort to move away from traditional retail and toward growth segments,” such as fitness centers and restaurants, he says.
What’s next for this business? Schmidt says they plan to roll out a warranty fulfillment service, expand their energy rebate program and increase their workforce.